The East Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church Annual Conference Recap Report
“Our mission is yet alive,” declared Bishop Malone during her Episcopal Address. “Now is the time for us to focus forward. This is a time of remarkable opportunity in the life of The United Methodist Church.”
The 54th session of the East Ohio Annual Conference met June 8-10 at the John S. Knight Center in
Akron. Annual Conference members:
- Approved re-districting the East Ohio Conference from 10 districts to four districts effective January 1, 2024
- Approved a 5% increase across all pastoral minimum salary categories
- Approved the 2024 Conference budget of $9,428,531, which is a reduction of 3.5% from the 2023 budget
- Approved the disaffiliation agreements of 237 churches effective the end of June 2023
- Approved three resolutions
The services and celebrations of Annual Conference 2023 commemorated 48 saints who joined the Church Triumphant since last year’s conference; commissioned five clergy as provisional members and ordained nine clergy as full members; and celebrated the ministries of 40 clergy who are retiring this year.
Annual Conference 2024 will meet Thursday, June 13 through Saturday, June 15 at the John S. Knight Center in Akron.
There are 651 United Methodist churches in the East Ohio Conference. When the new conference year begins on July 1, 64% of those churches (414) will continue to “Be UMC”. Those 414 churches include:
- 37 of the 49 large membership churches (76%) with average worship attendance of 100 or more.
- 222 of the 326 East Ohio Conference churches (68%) with average worship attendance of 26 to 99.
- 155 of the 276 small membership churches in the Conference (56%) with average worship attendance of 25 or fewer.
Lighthouse churches and Oasis groups across the East Ohio Conference are actively welcoming those who choose continuing to be United Methodist even though the church they attend is one of the 237 whose member have voted to disaffiliate effective June 30. Bishop Malone will share more about Lighthouse churches and Oasis groups during her Episcopal Address Thursday, June 8th.
Apportionments received from those 237 disaffiliating churches comprise 26% of the East Ohio Conference budget. More information on the financial impact of disaffiliation will be shared during the report by the conference Council on Finance & Administration, Saturday afternoon June 10.
We have many beautiful recovery fellowship clichés that pack profound power in small packages. This is one of them… “Don’t leave before the miracle happens.”
Yesterday, 55 UM churches in the Florida Conference left before the miracle happened. In 12 step fellowships we have a singular focus, “the only requirement for membership is a desire to quit drinking.” Our values and our process are crystal clear. They are written on the wall to help us remember.
When people leave our fellowship, we don’t shame them, we don’t hate them, we don’t break relationship with them. We also don’t chase them. We are a program of “attraction rather than promotion.” We stay anchored in our core why. We help the people in front of us. We work together to heal lives and communities.
It hurts when people leave. We can grieve that. But there are so many hopeful stories of faithful and fruitful United Methodists all across the connection. Together, from the ashes of disaffiliation, we will build something beautiful that will heal the world. God is a God of resurrection. God does God’s best work from tombs. Stay. Wait for the miracle.Rev. Michael Beck
Director Fresh Expressions for Florida Conference